Taleban release video of Pole being beheaded as warning to foreigners

Posted in Terrorism | 09-Feb-09 | Author: Zahid Hussain| Source: Times Online

Piotr Stanczak, who was beheaded four months after his capture.

The Taleban has released a video of the beheading of a Polish engineer, with a warning that other foreign hostages could meet the same fate.

Piotr Stanczak, a geologist, was kidnapped four months ago while working in Attock district, close to North West Frontier Province, which is infested with Taleban. Minutes before his murder on Friday night, Mr Stanczak was shown appealling to the Polish government not to send troops to neighbouring Afghanistan.

The video, released on Sunday, included a statement by the Taleban saying that other foreign nationals in their custody would be executed soon if the Pakistani government did not release some 60 detainees held by the military. The insurgents are holding at least four foreigners, including a Chinese engineer, plus Afghan and Iranian diplomats.

Shahidullah Baig, a Pakistan Interior Ministry spokesman, said the government had heard about the video and was investigating.

A Taleban spokesman told Pakistani newspapers that Mr Stanczak's body would be handed over after the detainees had been freed. The spokesman, who identified himself as Mohammed, said the Taleban had rejected an offer of 100 million rupees, (£1 million), for the release of Mr Stanczak.

Pakistan has seen a rash of kidnappings and attacks on foreigners in recent months, mostly blamed on al-Qaida and Taleban groups trying to destabilise the secular government and punish it for supporting the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

An American UN worker was abducted last week in the border town of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan. Police are investigating a purported separatist group's claim of responsibility.

The Taleban are also increasingly resorting to kidnapping local businessmen for ransom. At least 200 people have been taken in North West Frontier Province over the past few months and released on payment of huge sums money.